Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2005

A sermon preached by the Rev. Amanda Currie at the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service hosted by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Tuesday morning, January 27, 2005 at 7 a.m. One of the things that happens during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and other times when we gather together as Christian churches to pray and worship God together, is that we learn about one another. And it very often means that we’re learning what is different about other churches than our own. The different hymns we sing, or the praise choruses. The kind of prayers we say. What our worship spaces look like, crosses displayed, pews or chairs, straight rows or circles, stained glass, high pulpits, liturgical colours, powerpoint projectors, prominent altars or communion tables. Do we stand to pray, sit to sing, kneel or raise our hands? Add to all of these differences and more, the theological distinctions that you may notice as you visit churches from traditions different from your own. Those of you who have been attending these services for many years in Saskatoon have probably already encountered the range of differences that once surprised, shocked, or confused you. You may not be completely comfortable in the worship of every other tradition, but you’re not surprised anymore when the RC’s or the Anglicans make the sign of the cross, when the evangelicals raise their arms in praise, or when the Presbyterian preacher goes on a bit long. Over the last several years, even as … Read more »

April 11, 2004

John 20:1-18 Acts 10:34-43 Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the Church rejoice and sing this Easter Day! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! We’ve heard the Easter story many times before. It’s told in all the Gospels. It’s repeated in many of the letters of Paul and in the Acts of the Apostles. It’s the story that is the foundation of our faith. It’s the story that gives shape to our life as Christians. We believe in God. We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. We believe that Jesus was killed on a cross, but that he didn’t stay dead. God raised him on the third day. His body was not stolen. It was raised. We believe that he was the first to be raised, but that all will be raised on the last day. God is more powerful than death. Death is not the end. This is the Good News of Easter, and this is what we believe. And so, as did the first disciples who witnessed the resurrection, we tell the story. We tell it over and over… Easter after Easter, Sunday after Sunday. After years of preaching, ministers have told me that it becomes difficult to find fresh ways of telling the story. How do we present the story again to people who have heard it so many times before? How do we present the story clearly for the person among us who is hearing it for the first time? How do we present the story so that … Read more »

January 20, 2004

The following reflection was shared by the Rev. Amanda Currie at an ecumenical noon hour service hosted by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Saskatoon during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2004. Deuteronomy 30:11-14 Luke 10:38-42 “Listening Together” Hospitality is one of the things that many Christian churches pride themselves on. Presbyterians, at least, joke all the time that we can’t get together without having something to eat. Here at St. Andrew’s, the kitchen is one of the busiest places because whenever we get together we share food…. Tea, coffee, cookies or squares, little sandwiches, pots of soup, or pizza. Whatever the occasion, there’s some appropriate food or drink to go along with it. And there are some among us in our congregation, (and in yours, I’m sure) for whom the ministry of hospitality is their greatest gift to the community. They welcome the visitors and the newcomers. They pour the tea, and make sure there are enough cookies. And they take care of the endless, behind the scenes, tasks that keep the church kitchen clean, stocked, and ready for company. Today’s reading from Luke is sometimes difficult for those of us whose gift is hospitality… Those of us who slide out before the end of worship to put on the coffee… Those of us who lose our place in the prayer because we’re thinking about whether or not there will be enough sandwiches, or whether we remembered to put out the cream and sugar. The Gospel stories … Read more »

December 7, 2003

Annabelle phoned me on Saturday morning this week to let me know that she was well enough that she was planning to be here for worship this morning. In the course of our conversation about the service, she asked me, “How’s the sermon going?” And I responded with something like, “It’s a work in progress.” It had begun more than a week before when I’d sat down in my new study here at the church, and opened up my bible to the lectionary readings for Advent II, Year C, and read the scripture texts for my first Sunday here at St. Andrew’s. That day I had jotted down some notes about the readings – things that struck me right off… the music of Handel’s Messiah that came to mind as I heard the words from the prophet Malachi … the hopeful sound of Zechariah’s song for the life of his son John, and for the Saviour whose way his son would prepare. And then there was the image of the apostle Paul, sitting in a dark jail cell, tired and lonely, and almost losing hope for his own future… but praying fervently for the churches that he had started, remembering the faithful Christians in Philippi. How they had grown in faith and numbers during his time with them! Despite his own desperate circumstances, Paul must have just glowed at the thought of the Philippians. And then he might have knelt and prayed… prayed that their faith would grow even stronger, … Read more »